Catholic Theological Union

Catholic Theological Union (CTU) is working to more intentionally integrate science into its core curriculum to further its mission “to prepare effective leaders for the Church, ready to witness to Christ’s good news of justice, love, and peace.” During the 2019-2020 academic year, CTU is offering nine courses and two campus events exploring the theme “Science and Saving Stories That Shape Us: Engaging Science and Religion in Our Curriculum and Culture.” Dawn M. Nothwehr, OSF, the Erica & Harry John Family Professor of Catholic Theological Ethics, and Anne McGowan, Assistant Professor of Liturgy, are leading this CTU initiative. The first phase of the project focuses on resourcing CTU faculty to engage students with issues and concepts pertaining to science and theology in the classroom and beyond. This subject was explored most intensively during a 2.5-day workshop for all CTU faculty members in October 2019 featuring presentations by local scientists, theologians, and pedagogical leaders. Invited experts modeled the science-theology dialogue through lectures, discussion exercises, small-group syllabus preparation consultation sessions, and field trip excursions.

The project’s second phase will look outward toward engaging a wider community in sustained reflection about how to speak faithfully about science and scientifically about faith. Doing this will help bridge the gap between communities and cultures who operate primarily from one or the other of these “languages” and worldviews. On March 20, 2020, CTU will host a daylong public event envisioned as the culmination of prior conversations and an invitation to ongoing dialogue. Highlights include:

  • Keynote lectures by
    • Guy Consolmagno, SJ, Director of the Vatican Observatory in Rome on the topic “Theology at the Cutting Edge: God and Science in the 21st Century”
    • Todd A. Salzman, Ph.D., Amelia and Emil Graff Professor of Catholic Theology at Creighton University, who will speak about “Theological Virtue Ethics and Neuroscience”
  • Breakout sessions presented by and for students and teachers from Chicago-area Catholic high schools that will address various dimensions of the science-and-theology dialogue
  • Sessions by educators from several of Chicago’s science-oriented museums
  • Presentations on the implications of scientific topics for mission and ministry in the “real world,” where science and religion frequently overlap
  • Prizes for CTU students who shared the most outstanding work in each of the following contest categories: academic journal article, homily, reflection paper, and STEM for Mission project

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Introduction to Moral Theology

This course, taught by Dawn M. Nothwehr at Catholic Theological Union, will examine the foundations of the Christian moral life. It begins with a brief historical overview of the Vatican II shift in moral theology which provides a contextual basis for understanding contemporary Catholic moral theology and ethical methods. This will be followed by an…
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